Lots of activity at the FCC this month: the commission voted to expand LPFM, providing new opportunities for community radio groups in the U.S., on top of the NCE spectrum that opened up in October. Read more about LPFM here. On the other side of the coin, however, Commission Chairman Kevin Martin caught heat for attempting to push for a vote on his new plan for increased media consolidation and expanding regulation of cable TV.
Internet Radio Royalties Still Unresolved
An appeals court in Washington, D.C. recently announced a timetable for internet radio groups to appeal the controversial webcasting rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board and SoundExchange earlier this year. Court proceedings are likely to extend into 2009, giving all parties a few months to breathe until the whole ugly rate negotiation process starts over again in 2010 (when the current rates expire). Some of the largest webcasters (including Yahoo and AOL) may cease their streaming operations because the recent rise in royalties is still too high.
Hating on the RIAA
As Doron pointed out recently, under its new management, EMI may stop paying fees to the RIAA. This could be the smartest PR move by one of the Big 4 labels in quite a while! Meanwhile, the University of Oregon is biting back at the RIAA for illegally gathering information about students. Copyright reform in Canada may impose draconian DMCA-like limitations on digital media.